Greetings! My name is Farm Boy, and I’ve been offered the opportunity to write about all things environmental for the Greater Hartford Real Estate Blog. I’m very excited about exploring topics such as local agriculture, recycling, composting, etc.
As the summer season creeps into August, it seems to be as good a time as any to discuss the local farm scene in the Hartford area. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture website offers a wide array of information on options for buying local products. In the Hartford area, there are primarily three methods for purchasing local produce and other foodstuffs, with a startup delivery option also available. Today we’ll focus on the first two, Farmers Markets and Farm Stands & U-Pick.
There are several farmers markets that operate in Greater Hartford. In fact, with a visit to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Farmers’ Market website, you can find a market pretty much every day of the week during the peak growing season from mid-June through early October.
Some of the more notable markets include the Coventry Regional Farmers Market on Sundays, and the Hartford Regional Market on Reserve Road, which operates year round in the wee hours of the morning from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Although I have never been, a representative of CT Grown told me, “Bring a Wagon and a Flashlight!” A web search on the Buy CT Grown website lists 63 Farmers Markets within a 25 miles radius of the 06106 zip code. Farmers Markets offer a wide selection of seasonal products at fair prices.
Farm Stands and U-Pick
Another popular initiative of the state’s Department of Agriculture has been the Connecticut Grown program. This has resulted in a great website, Buy CT Grown, which is an extremely helpful resource to locate all types of Connecticut grown and produced products, ranging from the standard fruits and vegetables to the more eclectic listings for distilled spirits and fish markets. This is also a great tool for locating Farm Stands and Pick Your Own/U-Pick opportunities.
The primary advantage to Farm Stands and U-Pick is that the prices tend to be more reasonable than Farmers’ Markets or other purchasing opportunities, because you are saving the producer the time and effort necessary to bring his or her products to market.
While there are many great farm stands in the area, South Glastonbury stands out for its U-Pick opportunities when it comes to fruit, especially berries (Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry and Blackberry) and tree bearing fruit (several varieties of Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Nectarines and Cherries). Several of my favorites include Belltown Orchards, Dondero Orchards and Carini’s Berry Farm, although a trip to Rose’s Berry Farm for weekend breakfast is most likely in order for the first time visitor. Come fall, be sure to visit Woodland Farm for fresh pressed, unpasteurized apple cider.